Clinical Depression Versus Spiritual Depression

I wholeheartedly believe that there are two types of depression, clinical and spiritual, yet many doctors and other people of science would probably argue otherwise, saying depression is depression, and merely results from a chemical imbalance in the body. I beg to differ, only because I’ve experienced them both, and they definitely originate from different sources.

Let me start with a look at clinical depression. I’ve been clinically depressed a number of times in my life, where my serotonin levels have been extremely low. Whenever that’s occurred, it tends to feel like I have the flu. I’m achy and lethargic, it’s hard to keep my eyes open, I want to sleep all the time yet I frequently can’t seem to. I’m usually plagued with anxiety, along with a feeling that I’m being buried alive in a casket, where there’s no escape, and where I can’t see the light. I generally have no energy, no desire to do any type of work, to be creative, to be social, or partake in anything that puts me front and center of people. To put it quite simply, when I’m clinically depressed, it really just feels like a chore to even do the smallest of task, like take a shower. And the only solution I’ve ever found when my clinical depression has reached a severe level has been to take some type of anti-depressant medication like Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, and the like for a period of time until I could work through whatever it was that was creating the chemical imbalance in the first place. In every single case, it was always due to me either engaging in toxic behaviors, i.e. addictions, or holding onto anger, resentments or past traumatic events, refusing to face the fear of working through them. Thankfully I haven’t experienced this type of depression ever since I entered my recovery for sex and love addiction in April of 2012.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same is true with the other form of depression I mentioned, that being spiritual depression, as I’m currently still facing that in life. But before I explain what that is, it’s important to note that when my last bout of clinical depression ended, I began working ferociously to grow closer to God through prayer, meditation, helping others, becoming more selfless, giving back, listening to happy music, doing daily gratitude journals, writing uplifting articles in this blog, remaining positive, staying away from toxic people, reading spiritually moving literature, eating healthy, spending more time in nature, and turning my life back over to Christ, amongst a number of other things as well. Because of all this, I found myself feeling a presence that I hadn’t felt in a very long time, that being of God. I experienced signs on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily, of God’s presence, in dreams, through people, through nature, and a number of other ways too. Many who knew me said I had a glow about me, which I can only attribute to that of God being very active within me. That lasted pretty consistently into the early spring of 2015. But then, that glow began to evaporate and so did the signs of God’s presence, which in turn caused my level of joy to decrease.

I attempted to double, triple, and quadruple my efforts to connect with God hoping this would counteract that. That’s when I started burying myself more in the Bible, reading more daily devotionals, writing more, sponsoring more in recovery, doing more service work, all to no avail. Then my spiritual teacher asked me to work on myself without her help anymore as summer was about to begin in 2016 and it was a huge blow mostly because I had become dependent on her to feel much of the joy that remained. Ever since, while I’ve seen plenty of God’s presence around me and felt joy for others, an emptiness remained within, one that medication didn’t and can’t fix. That’s the spiritual depression I’m speaking of.

I have remained faithful though with all my spiritual routines and continued to do the best I can to remain selfless and unconditionally loving in life, even in that absence of joy. On most days, I feel nothing but despair, and long to feel God’s presence and love within me, not just around me. But this is where it ultimately differs from clinical depression because I still have plenty of energy. I have no trouble doing my daily routines, I don’t feel like I have the flu or constant lethargy. My serotonin levels are just fine. I don’t feel like I’m being buried alive or that the world is closing in on me. I still keep my commitments and often speak in front of others with no problems. And I get out of myself on a daily basis to help others too, yet I feel little to no joy in doing any of it. That’s what spiritual depression is to me and is so very different than a clinical one. I truly wish there was some spiritual medicine I could find to change this, but alas I haven’t found one through my countless efforts. And while many who read this article might do exactly what Job’s friends attempted to do with him in the Bible, telling him it’s his fault as to why he was dealing with his circumstances, I do what he did and plead my case directly to God.

While I have no idea why I’m experiencing this spiritual depression for as long as I have God, I know that human medicine can’t fix it and that You are the only medicine that will. I know it’s not a clinical depression and although people may continue to tell me it is, or that I’m doing something wrong, or that You aren’t ever going to fix me, or that science and medicine is the only answer, or that I simply need to place greater effort out there, I know otherwise. And like Job, I will continue to wait patiently upon You, as best as I can, to provide me Your medicine, as when You do, I know my spiritual depression will finally lift and I will glow once again in all Your glory…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Author: Andrew Arthur Dawson

A teacher of meditation, a motivational speaker, a reader of numerology, and a writer by trade, Andrew Arthur Dawson is a spiritual man devoted to serving his Higher Power and bringing a lot more light and love into this world. This blog, is just one of those ways...

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